Before the Injury: Preventing Trauma

Injury prevention is the main goal of the Pediatric Trauma Center at CHOP. Our Trauma team provides the education to help parents and caregivers understand why injuries happen and what can be done to prevent them in the future.


Before the Injury: Preventing Trauma

Michael L. Nance, MD:  Some of the best work we do here at Children's Hospital is not happening in the trauma bay or not happening in the operating room. It's actually happening on the injury prevention front, and that's preventing the injuries from happening so that they never need our services.

Gina Duchossois, MS:  All of these injuries are preventable, and many of them are predictable, as well.

Cara Rakow, RN, MSN:  So we'll educate the family about the specific injury that they have, how it could have been prevented, how they're going to prevent it in the future, how they can tell their friends and family to prevent it in the future.

Aaron Donoghue, MD:  Sometimes it's very tangible things, like giving out equipment for safety as far as injury prevention in cars, on bikes, and so on. And other times it's just being able to spend time and explore a family's situation.

Cara Rakow, RN, MSN:  We have a Safety Center located on the first floor of our Main Hospital, and the store is set up purely to help families prevent accidents and teach trauma education.

Safety Educator:  Stephanie and I are going to show you how to install the car seat. Now, there's two ways to install a car seat into your car, using the seatbelt or the latch system.

Kristine Biggie, RN, MSN:  We can provide parents, at a low cost, with a lot of safety and injury prevention products, such as car seats, bicycle helmets, safety gates, etc., with a safety educator to show parents how to use it properly.

Gina Duchossois, MS:  A lot of people, when they think of our injury prevention program, they think of our Safety Center here at the Hospital. But we have so many aspects, including our car seat inspection stations. We have 10 sites out in the community, where we meet with families and teach them how to use their car seats. We also do larger community events, so we do have a lot of different locations where we go. And our Kohl's Safety Van travels in the community, and it really takes what we provide here in our Safety Center out into the community and on the road.

Michael L. Nance, MD:  A lot of the work that we've done in the injury prevention world is because of support from the Kohl's Foundation.

Safety Advisor:  And then you can see on the side that this will eventually turn into a belt-positioning booster seat for him, so this would be the last seat you would need for him.

Gina Duchossois, MS:  We're able to take these safety devices with us and teach families how to use the devices, and then we sell those devices at cost.

Safety Advisor:  Fits really well. We're going to tighten it up in the back a little bit. Great, great. You've got yourself a new helmet.

Nurse:  So I'm one of the nurses here on--

Narrator:  Other prevention efforts take place right in the Hospital, where there's plenty of time for teaching.

Nurse:  Did you ever cross the street wherever you live?

Cara Rakow, RN, MSN:  We received a grant to start what we call a traveling trauma education cart. The cart goes through all the units in the Hospital about once a month to provide education about specific topics pertinent to that season or time.

Nurse:  How about if a ball rolls across the street? Do you run out and get it?

Child:  No.

Nurse:  No. What do you do?

Child:  Tell my mommy.

Nurse:  Very good.

Cara Rakow, RN, MSN:  We also talk about pedestrian safety. What does a stop sign mean? What does the red, green and yellow light mean? We have them play games so that when they go home, they can still play safe and bring the information back to their community.

Nurse:  Do you feel better?

Child:  Uh-huh.

Nurse:  Good. You were excellent. Thanks, mom and dad.

Aaron Donoghue, MD:  Communication with other hospitals also goes on on an ongoing basis with our trauma patient review program. When we see things that are either problematic or particularly good, we try to be in direct contact with the physicians there to let them know that things went well or could have gone better or help them to identify opportunities for improvement in their systems.

Kristine Biggie, RN, MSN:  Our ultimate dream in all of trauma is to be out of business. If we could prevent injuries, that would be ideal.

Related Centers and Programs: Trauma Center, Injury Prevention Program